Small Business

C. Norman Beckert: With tax season behind you, review your business records

Idaho district director for SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired ExecutivesMay 21, 2014 

0305 biz Norman Beckert.JPG

C. Norman Beckert

STATESMAN FILE

  • SCORE ANNIVERSARY

    SCORE is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Treasure Valley SCORE has been providing its counseling and training services since 1971. SCORE will celebrate this milestone by hosting an open house for its past and current in-business clients. The event will be held on June 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, 5th & Myrtle streets. Light refreshments will be served.

    Any in-business SCORE clients that have not been contacted can attend the open house by registering on the SCORE website: treasurevalley.score.org, or by phone at (208) 334-1696.

Spring is when business owners are required to file tax returns. It's also a good time to examine your individual and business tax returns and determine if you are on the path to sustain and grow your business.

Let's start with accounting records. They should help you determine if your business is profitable, and they should help you make business decisions.

Your financial documents should include the details of your expenditures and your sales. Does your sales information include each customer's name and address, telephone and email, the dates of sales, the description, quantity, unit price, payment due date and receipt date? Are your sales and your customers' buying habits changing? Are you regularly surveying your customers and listening to their responses?

Take a look at your accounts receivable and payables. Are your customers paying on time, or are some delinquent? Are you keeping up with your payables and taking advantage of discounts by paying in a timely manner? Remember, cash is king.

If you are in the red, you need a recovery plan. Your expense report may identify areas where you can reduce costs. Sales details may suggest you re-examine your marketing strategy. You should expect your CPA to critique your financials and suggest areas in which your business can be improved.

Does your business require you to carry inventory? If so, make sure you get rid of stock that has not had activity during the past year. Consider a clearance sale, or a return to the supplier, or a donation.

When did you last contact your customers to validate that your product and service continues to meet their needs? Have you sent them a reminder that you are still in business, perhaps have a new product, have new uses for a product or have cost-saving ideas?

Have you checked the competition? Are there new products with new pricing in the market? A great place to get some answers is an industry trade show. Suppliers are one of the best sources of market news.

In addition to a financial and marketing review, perform a self-evaluation of your capabilities and weaknesses.

Anticipating trends can be extremely valuable in keeping you current on marketing and sales strategies, customer desires, technology changes and the general economy. As your business grows, change will be inevitable. Small-business owners need to look ahead constantly and seek ways to adapt.

tvscore@yahoo.com

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service